Do you want to know how to sleep better? We speak to The Sleep School's sleep expert Guy Meadows about his science-based tips for getting a good night's sleep.
If the quality of your sleep has plummeted since Covid-19, you are not alone. A study conducted by Sleep School's global sleep experts found that more than half of participants were dissatisfied with their sleep, with another 53 percent at a loss as to what they could do to improve it. Be it stress at work, difficulty switching off in the evenings (many of us now live and work in a confined space), loneliness, or mental health problems - various factors could affect your ability to fall into a peaceful sleep.
Thankfully, Sleep School - which aims to transform people's lives by giving them tools to help them sleep better - has launched a new app that's packed with science-based methods that will help you get a solid eight hours - all under the care of sleep expert Guy Meadows and his team. "Our goal is to teach the people who download the app to sleep better so they won't need the app," he explains. "It's about providing the right training and the right tools."
With a focus on a healthy routine and good daily sleeping habits, the app can help you improve your bedtime. And in the meantime, Meadows has shared his five lessons on how to sleep better with Us.
"Research shows that actively thinking about what we are grateful for in life helps us to have a more positive attitude. It helps us relax mentally and emotionally, and can have a very positive effect on our sleep. Gratitude too feeling can be as simple as spending a few minutes in bed at the end of the day thinking about the events, people, or places you are grateful for that day in your life. Whatever comes to mind, see if you can clearly identify why you are grateful for it, and pause to notice what the feeling of gratitude feels like. "
"Strong feelings such as fear, frustration, or loneliness can make it difficult to fall asleep. Trying to get rid of them only fuels them and wakes us up even more. At Sleep School we pioneered the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT ) for sleep that teaches us how to change the way we think and feel about difficult emotions rather than trying to change them. An easy way to do this is to change your emotions that way looking at them appearing in your body and giving them physical attributes such as shape, height, weight, color, and texture. For example, you could say, "My fear feels like a cold black knot, that contracts in my stomach. When you describe your emotions in this way, you defuse the power they have over you and your sleep. "
"If you've slept poorly or just need a boost of energy after lunch, then try a power nap. The ideal duration is between 10 and 20 minutes - the longer, the more likely it is that you will fall into a deep sleep and yourself The best time to nap is between noon and 3 pm, as this will naturally lower your alertness and make it easier for you to fall asleep. For best results, find a quiet, comfortable place to lie down or looking for a seat. "
“A busy mind is the most commonly reported factor preventing us from falling asleep. Research shows that when we try to block our thoughts, they come back stronger and in greater numbers. In sleep school we teach our clients the opposite The first step is to anchor the attention in the present moment by noticing the movement of the breath, then when the thoughts wander about what they are going to do, to do is to notice and let go of the thoughts instead of trying to control them Before you turn your attention back to your breath, acknowledge this fact. Brain research shows that repetitively sensing your breath and letting go of your thoughts strengthens a part of the brain that is responsible for calming mental chaos. Try to practice for a few minutes every day, including when you go to bed and turn off the light. "
"Live a healthy lifestyle that promotes sleep. For example, don't drink more than 2-3 caffeinated drinks per day and switch to plant-based or decaf alternatives for lunch. Be active every day and opt for aerobic exercise like walking, Dancing, or jogging instead of strength training or sprinting. Allow at least two hours between your workout and bedtime to cool your body temperature. Try not to drink alcohol two to three hours before bed, and have days where you don't drink alcohol at all. Alcohol can block the highly restful Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep, making it fragmented and unrefreshing. Make your evening meal the healthiest and smallest of the day, and aim for it to leave two to four hours between eating and sleeping."